Philip Sanderson - Seal Pool Sounds

Oil on Troubled Daughters

Feeding Time

Big Glass



Sea Swell

Seal Pool Sounds

Pilot Light

March of the Bugs

Radium Lab

Nude Nights

Left then Down



All tracks by Philip Sanderson



Format: CD. 500 copies

Release Date: 2005

Label: Seal Pool

Catalogue Number: Spool 02

Sleeve Design: Philip Sanderson and John Podeszwa, all CD booklet photographs taken in Japan by John Podeszwa except the photograph on the back of CD whcih is a found image of an original 1930s Seal Pool



There is also a limited edition box set version of the Seal Pool CD in an edition of 25 copies. As well as the main CD, it includes an additional CD-R with two long drone tracks. All the boxes are hand made in Japan by John Podeszwa and feature various found photographs and ephemera. More information here.




From Mimaroglu

The return of philip sanderson... I’m an unabashed mega-fan of the storm bugs as well as philip’s various projects over the years (remember the claire thomas & susan vesey track on the cherry red comp “perspectives and distortions?” i do...) so it’s great to listen to this mish-mash of different approaches to electronic music, all constructed with various synthesizers (software, hardware, and otherwise...) over the last few years.


The blurb is fairly spot on... there’s a bit of raymond scott’s “soothing sounds for babies” sound-world, inasfar as there are child-like melodies mixed with more abstract sounds & processing... on top of that there’s a bit of a-grade electro-acoustic collagery, all kinds of crazy location recordings of animals (echoing basil kirchin’s zonked “worlds within worlds” series)... all dripping with a certain nod towards surrealism & a woozy diy home-recorded aesthetic that made sanderson’s early 80s music so... unique (check the recent “reprint” disc on anomalous for a taste.)


Some of the tones are occasionally off-putting (the intital 20 seconds had me checking the cd player to make sure i hadn’t put the wrong disc in!) but the unorthodox sound assembly/construction methods of the disc taken as a whole leave no doubt in my mind that the same brain that conjured up the snatch tapes universe 25 years back is still coursing, full of great ideas and the means to realize them... an excellent disc.


From Aquarius Records

It's been a very, very long time that Philip Sanderson has released anything new. Up until Seal Pool Sounds, the last recordings for Sanderson date back to 1982! During the late '70s and early '80s, Sanderson had been very active in the Britian's DIY cassette culture, producing music as the Storm Bugs (with Steven Ball) and as Susan Thomas & Clare Vesay (whose fictional femininity caused a minor bout of controversy between Sanderson and Cherry Red records). He also collaborated frequently with David Jackman who at that time had yet to form his seminal drone-scrape project Organum. Many of these recordings emerged on Sanderson's own Snatch Tapes; and some of those original cassettes have slowly been reissued in recent years. In the mid-'80s, Sanderson made a stylistic jump to film and installation, offering an explanation as to his whereabouts during all those years.


Within the murk, hiss, and Frankensteinian electric constructions of his early work on Snatch, there was a peculiar and perverse sense of humor in Sanderson's work. On Seal Pool Sounds, he allows the playful aspects of that sense of humor to occasionally emerge with these much cleaner squiggles, jolts, and drones of electronic sounds. Alternately, a plaintive melancholia hangs upon other abstracted tones and broken rhythms, ending up sounding like more primitive constructions from Mika Vainio's solo work, those Microstoria albums, and even Manhatten Research era Raymond Scott.

Review by Ed Pinsent from the Sound Projector magazine 14th issue.

Great record by Sanderson, themed around a concept of marine life found at the zoo. Might be worth comparing this with Merzbow's 24 Hours: A Day Of Seals box set, although Merzbow's take on similar subject is much wilder and untamed, suggesting the sheer terror of extreme nature in the raw. Sanderson locates his work in a more domesticated setting. as suggested by the photographs taken from a seal pool in Osaka, and his record has an overall 'friendlier' sound. Think of The digital-era Residents, or those fine MoebiuslPlank LPs on the Sky label from I 98 1- I 982.

Seal Pool Sounds is a brilliant collection of assured, skewed and sometimes rather queasy electronic abstract paintings. The opening track 'Oil on Troubled Daughters' is closest to being a portrait of the seals themselves; certainly it's very suggestive of those agile, slipppery black bodies turning about under the surface of the water. Lovers of pop melody are advised to click on to 'Feeding Time', a slice of jaunty analogue synth melody that owes much to Delia Derbyshire and The Residents, and its jollity will have you clapping your flippers in appreciation. 'Big Glass' features a midi piano, while 'Umwell' contains sound effects, distorted voices and backwards tapes. Although some of the later tracks are a bit silly - eg 'Nude Nights' and the dribbly nonsense of 'Radium Lab', overall this is very creditable. It could almost be used as a TV soundtrack record, if anyone working in television these days had any imagination left ...

Philip Sanderson has collaborated with Organum and is best known for his work in Storm Bugs, a 1980s cassette band whose work is sporadically being retrieved in assorted reissue programmes; you all recall the Reprint CD issued by Anomalous Records. His music is perhaps no longer as edgy as that early work, but he's still full of ideas, and for this record at least he wishes to evince an interest in Raymond Scott, Marcel Duchamp and French New Wave film music. Try a dip .. it's cool in the pool.

Copyright ED PINSENT 23/07/2005